JA­PANESE AUC­TIONS: THE UL­TI­MATE CAR SA­FARI

Pasmag (USA) - - I SSUE PREVIEW - STORY BY By Adam Zillin

The Ja­panese ve­hi­cle auc­tions should be con­sid­ered an in­ter­plan­e­tary sta­tis­ti­cal anom­aly. “How and why the hell do they even ex­ist?” I can hear you ask­ing.

You may have known about them for decades, but the Ja­panese car auc­tion sys­tem de­fies com­mon sense, eschew­ing ra­tio­nal­ity. And yet they are 100-per­cent com­mon­place. It hap­pens be­cause this is the Ja­panese way. Ja­pan pos­sesses the ca­pa­bil­ity to cul­ti­vate and then process cul­tural “Unob­ta­nium” and the so­cial need to buy and sell cars springs from the ne­ces­sity within Ja­pan's need to “re­cy­cle."

The Ja­panese are, at heart, struc­tured to dis­pose of the old and usher in the new at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals and are the pre­dom­i­nant and fac­tu­ally om­nipo­tent “all see­ing eye” that per­vades vir­tu­ally ev­ery car sale in Ja­pan out­side pri­vate pur­chas­ing and Ya­hoo auc­tion sales.

There are no dodgy Craigslist posts. There are no Satur­day af­ter­noon booty calls to come visit and go for a test drive. In Ja­pan, doc­u­men­ta­tion is an ab­so­lute and pri­vacy is ev­ery­thing; with­out ei­ther, you can't even buy a car, let alone put one to mar­ket. Ja­pan is safe on the preven­tion of ve­hic­u­lar theft and the no­tion that cars trade hands il­le­gally.

None of the mys­tique the auc­tions em­body has been purged. The sheer ex­pe­ri­ence of at­tend­ing a Ja­panese auc­tion at full-tilt on any given Thurs­day is an all-out as­sault on the senses that will ren­der you speech­less. Ir­rel­e­vant of your par­tic­u­lar slant, your eyes would wa­ter freely if you saw what the gates con­tained.

Just re­cently, I was re­duced to a cry­ing mess of hu­man blub­ber over a pair of E30 M3 BMWs, that to my trained eye, were in per­fect form and em­bod­ied equal mea­sures of child­hood and fan­tasy at the same time. To see them

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